Datsik brought the wow. Steve Aoki brought the WHAT THE…? And both of those are beautiful things.
The co-headliners of the Deadmeat tour, dubstepper Datsik and electro-house wizard Steve Aoki, provided, at the very least, something for the crowd to remember at the Aragon Ballroom Friday, Feb. 24. Both in terms of music and, well, let’s just call it “other.”
After three-piece drum and bass supporting group Mustard Pimp left the stage to a massive, sufficiently warmed-up 17+ crowd, the 23-year-old British Columbia native’s robot-fonted pseudonym was revealed on the front of his tall DJ booth. “DATSIK” began glowing in bright red and then green as the “dub-hop” producer, birth name Troy Beetles, got his flat-brimmed-hatted self set onstage.
Right off the bat, the man notorious for his heavy and dirty dubstep tracks and remixes unleashed Avicii’s inescapable “Le7els,” dubstepitized, of course. The candy-kid ravers and hula-hooping hippies alike rattled the venue with Datsik’s first drop. Give them a break? No, not on his time.
Datsik dropped in Kill the Noise, his hugely banging track “Firepower” (the namesake of his brand new self-owned and -run label, Firepower Records), and the track “Pick Your Poison,” on which he collaborated with Diplo, head of the Mad Decent label and general EDM scene superstar. Though banger after banger, always nodding to his strong taste for grimy, glitch dubstep and hard hip-hop, the tracks weren’t overwhelmingly heavy, they weren’t expecting too much of the crowd.
The familiarity of the tunes and the way Datsik chopped and mashed them transpired the crowd time and time again. A little of Kanye and Jay-Z’s “N-ggas in Paris” followed by a brand new remix of a Skrillex track? Equally killer. Datsik makes dupstep and hip-hop sound so familial with each other that it seems like some small disgrace that the beatbox-y beats and robot noises he glazed atop Dr. Dre’s “Next Episode” weren’t always intertwined.
Same goes for the dubstep treatments applied to Ice Cube’s “You Can Do It Put Your Back Into It” and DMX’s “Get It On The Floor.” Sidenote to Mr. Beetles: Please let us buy those somewhere.
Datsik climbed atop his turntables, raised his arms to the ceiling and proudly smirked at what was one of the tour’s biggest crowds (in the neighborhood of 4,000 people). The night could have been over, but guess what. It was not. Not even close.
Cue the huge-name electro-house star, Steve Aoki, on an even more elevated DJ platform flanked on the left by a giant, light-up “A O,” and on the right by “K I.” A very new show was about to start.
Probably less than half of Aoki’s set saw the long-haired, mustached producer actually at work behind his Mac laptop. The majority of the time saw him as an MC at some weird, well, wedding. Actually though.
He got the young crowd going nuts-o early on with the warping electro killer “Tornado” before things turned Cirque de Soleil. He went to the edge of the stage and sprayed fans with champagne, spitting champagne out like a Super Soaker. He straight up dumped what was probably a gallon of orange juice on someone.
He climbed King Kong-style up the side of the venue to the balcony, walked to the side, and stepped off the ledge backwards onto fans holding an air mattress above their heads. He surfed it back to the stage. Only to cut the music for about ten minutes and literally conduct a wedding. The bridal party was there and everything.
The newlyweds kissed. The apparently ordained minister and master of ceremonies, Aoki, smashed a triple-decker cake in their faces and sent them away on air mattress atop the crowd. This was reminiscent of the two, yes two, giant rectangular chocolate cakes we gained out of nowhere and forcefully threw onto the front row fans.
Oh wait, we’re at a concert. I think. Right?
Right. The industry vet still somehow found the time and energy to get to his booth and spit out “Hit the Turbulence” to an ever-excited audience. “Timewarp” rattled them again.
A girl in the front row all night carried a poster asking “IS THIS REAL LIFE?” During Datsik’s rumbling, distinctively danceable and heavy showcase, this question was cute. And rhetorical. But here comes Steve Aoki, with wedding vows, chocolate cakes and world-class electro to turn that cleverly joking question legitimate.
Perhaps Deadmeat is limbo, and that girl’s postered question has no answer.